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February 26, 2006

British Must End Military Campaign

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 02/26/06 British Must End Their Military Campaign - Ó Caoláin
SL 02/26/06 Loyalism - Infiltrated To The Core
SL 02/26/06 White Told Branch I Was Target - They Didn't Warning Me
SL 02/26/06 LVF Drugs Runner Back In Prison After Being Caught
IT 02/27/06 Dissident Republicans Blamed For Planning Dublin Violence
IT 02/27/06 Dublin's Descent Into Violent Chaos
IT 02/27/06 13 Before Special Sitting Of District Court
IT 02/27/06 They Sing Olé, Olé, Olé;Threw Missiles & Shouted I, I, IRA
NY 02/26/06 Dublin Riots Damage Fragile Peace Efforts
SL 02/26/06 Love And War
RT 02/26/06 Rioters Will Be Brought To Justice: McDowell(V2)
IM 02/27/06 Opin: Dublin Riots: What Happened And Why
IT 02/27/06 Opin: An Opportunity Lost In Dublin
IT 02/27/06 Opin: McDowell And Control Of Media
IT 02/27/06 Opin: Planning For Trouble Amid Scenes Of Violent Chaos
LP 02/26/06 Seeking Solace And Giving Something Back
EX 02/26/06 The Pros Of Coming Off The Bottle
TE 02/26/06 Commander John Wilson
IT 02/27/06 Dublin Boy (11) Wins Top BBC Quiz Title


British Must End Their Military Campaign - Ó Caoláin

Published: 26 February, 2006

Speaking in South Armagh, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín
Ó Caolain said the British must end their military campaign
in Ireland and close all their bases and spyposts.
Following the discovery earlier in the week of a document
exposing the extent of British Army spying on the local
community, Ó Caoláin called on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern to press
the British to end this violation of civil rights.

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader was speaking at the annual
commemoration for Volunteers Brendan Burns and Brendan
Moley in South Armagh on Sunday 26 February. During the
course of his oration he stated:

"The IRA has formally ended its armed campaign, a brave
decision, a very difficult decision for many Republicans.
But the British Army, MI5 and the RUC Special Branch within
the PSNI have yet to end their military campaign. The
Taoiseach and the Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern
should place further pressure on the British government to
bring about the complete demilitarization of this area and
of the entire Six Counties."

Referring to current talks, he said:

"In the months to come we will engage again with the two
governments and the other political parties to attempt to
restore the Good Friday Agreement. That is the only purpose
of the talks. Nothing less will be acceptable.

"Will the two Governments allow the DUP a veto on the
process? This we will oppose and we will demand that the
two Governments move forward and implement the Agreement.
There can be no going back.

"Whatever the outcome of the current talks, such as they
are, the equality agenda must move forward.
Demilitarisation must proceed. There must be a new
beginning to policing. People in these Six Counties have a
right to representation in the Oireachtas. On all these
issues and more Sinn Féin will mobilize and campaign and we
will never rest until each and every one of them is won."


Loyalism - Infiltrated To The Core

Alan Murray
25 February 2006

The unmasking of John White as a Special Branch agent
underlines just how deeply loyalist terrorists were
penetrated by the intelligence services.

Reliable sources have suggested that murdered east Belfast
UDA boss JIM GRAY was also a Branch agent.

One security source said 'Doris Day' was "extremely
difficult to handle" because his drug habit made him

Some loyalist informants like the first 'supergrass'
witnesses in the early 1980s - JOSEPH BENNETT, CLIFFORD
McKEOWN and WILLIAM 'Budgie' ALLEN provided information to
save their own skins when they faced charges.

Many others were compromised and "persuaded" to help after
they committed minor offences, or because they held grudges
against associates.

One former Special Branch officer who handled a number of
agents said blackmail or threats were not the favoured
method of recruitment.

"Many did it simply for the money, although the Branch
could never match the cash the Army's Force Research Unit
or MI5 could provide. But we did recruit many top
informants and they contributed to the defeat of
terrorism," he said.

But he was scathing about the disclosure that White had
worked for the Branch since 1994.

"Whoever disclosed that to the media is an absolute moral
and professional disgrace and should hang his head in

"I would suspect that the character who did it didn't serve
in the Special Branch for all his career, but was seconded,
learned some secrets, and is now prepared to trade them for
cash, or ramble about them in his cups."

White follows a long line of UDA terrorists who became
moles and were then unmasked.

The most notorious, BRIAN NELSON, an agent for the FRU,
which allowed him to plot many terrorist attacks before his
involvement in the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989 provoked
the Stevens Inquiry.

Nelson died in Wales after his release from jail, but
fellow UDA informer WILLIAM STOBIE was murdered by the
terror group in 2000 after calling for an independent
inquiry into the Finucane murder.

Another informant killed by the UDA was notorious racketeer
JIM CRAIG who provided details on loyalist terrorists to
both the IRA and RUC. He was shot dead months after UDA
leader John McMichael was killed by an IRA under-car bomb
in 1987.

Fellow UDA leader TOMMY 'Tucker' LYTTLE was was also
branded an informer after his death.

In the ranks of the UVF, the most recent allegations
concern North Belfast loyalist MARK HADDOCK, who was named
as a Special Branch agent in the Dail by TD Pat Rabbitte


White Told Branch I Was Target - They Didn't Bother Warning

Johnston Brown
25 February 2006

The revelation that Johnny Adair's right hand man, John
White, was a Special Branch agent did not come as a
complete surprise to me - but it did make very angry.

It angered me because Special Branch never relayed any
warnings to me that Adair was plotting revenge attacks
against my family and myself for my role in having the UFF
boss jailed in 1995.

My home in Ballyclare was bombed by Adair's UDA C company
in October, 2000, and he also set in motion a sick plan to
kidnap one of my teenage sons. I find it impossible to
believe that double-killer John White was not giving
Special Branch information about these events.

Why? Because I know for a fact that White tried to protect
me from Adair, if only for his only selfish reasons - to
concentrate on raking in money from crime.

White went to a senior police officer (not a Branch man) at
Tennent Street in 2000 and warned Adair was obsessed with
taking revenge against me.

I believe White did this because he was frustrated that
Special Branch were not acting on his warnings.

White had actually gone with Adair to Tennent Street to
discuss arrangements for the Shankill festival in August,
2000, which, as it turned out, was to trigger a bloody
loyalist feud.

On the way out, White stopped on the stairs and said
something like: "Oh! there is one other thing I meant to
say. You go on Johnny, I'll see you in a minute."

White then told the officer: "The wee man can't sleep for
scheming up ways of getting back at Jonty Brown. He's
obsessed. Every 10 minutes it's Brown, Brown, Brown. You've
got to get that man out of his house."

After the officer passed the warning to me, my wife and I
set about making arrangements to move house.

I was getting similar warnings from my own informants, But,
I repeat, I got no such warnings from Special Branch.

In fact, I got no assistance at all from Special Branch
from the moment in 1999 when I co-operated with the Stevens
Inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane. I was

The revelation that White was working for Special Branch
also adds weight to another serious concern I have about
the UFF bomb attack on my home, which was fitted with all
the latest security measures.

The only security measure one that failed was the Hawkeye
radio alarm system, which was run by Special Branch's
Technical Services Unit.

The reliable 'Hawkeye' alarm system was linked to all local
police vehicles. But it mysteriously failed that night,
helping the UFF bombers to make their escape.

Johnny Adair has rubbished claims White was a Branch agent
but I believe a lot of things will start to make sense to
him now.

:: Johnston Brown is the author of Into The Dark: 30 Years
In The RUC.


LVF Drugs Runner Back In Prison After Being Caught

Ciaran McGuigan
25 February 2006

A drugs runner who was caught transporting dope belonging
to the LVF was last night back behind bars after going on
the run from an Ulster jail.

Redmond Dougherty was returned to Maghaberry Prison last
Thursday night by police, more than five months after he
went on the run.

Dad-of-five Dougherty (39), of Glenlea Park in Belfast, had
been serving a two-year sentence after being caught with
£50,000 worth of cannabis in a car at Garnerville in June

He admitted possessing the cannabis with the intention of
supplying it to others and of possessing a quantity of

He claimed that he had been forced to collect the drugs by
a paramilitary organisation that he refused to name.

At the time the Garnerville area was an LVF stronghold,
where drugs rackets were being controlled by close
associates of murdered LVF commander Stephen Warnock.

Dougherty absconded from jail last October after been
granted temporary release.

His re-capture came just hours after convicted murderer
Stephen Jeffrey Wilson (38), was returned to jail after
giving two prison guards and a probation officer the slip.

Wilson had been allowed out of Maghaberry Prison for six
hours to visit his elderly father and his mother's grave
when he gave two prison guards and a probation officer the

He is serving a life sentence for the murder of Brendan
Kevin Kelly in Brighton in 1987.

There are currently 12 other prisoners on the run from
Ulster's jails, several of whom have evaded capture for a
number of years.


Dissident Republicans Blamed For Planning Dublin Violence

Mark Brennock & Patsy McGarry

The Government is to work to identify and expose any
dissident republican or Sinn Féin elements involved in
orchestrating Saturday's riots in Dublin which injured 14
people and caused major damage to business premises and

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice blamed dissident
republicans for organising the violence which caused the
abandonment of the planned "Love Ulster" march down
O'Connell Street. However, the violence failed to prevent a
brief loyalist parade from going past Leinster House.

Mr McDowell and Mr Ahern said hooligan elements had joined
the riots, but that many had gone to the scene with what
the Taoiseach described as "serious intent".

Gardaí arrested 42 people, 13 of whom were charged at a
special sitting of Dublin District Court at the Bridewell
on Saturday night. They were charged variously with arson,
criminal damage, public order offences and looting. More
are expected to be charged today.

Tomorrow's Cabinet meeting will receive an initial
operational Garda report on the riots, which is produced as
a matter of routine after such an event. Mr McDowell said
yesterday he was seeking a fuller report on the "real
perpetrators" of the violence, signalling Government
determination to expose any republican elements involved in
orchestrating the violence.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Al McHugh said that some
people had arrived with "snooker balls, petrol bombs and
lump hammers". A few hundred people had come out of pubs
and side streets to join in. All those hurt received
relatively minor injuries and were released from hospital
on Saturday.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce estimates that as much as €10
million may have been lost by businesses through closures
and damage as a result of Saturday's riots. Several
shopfronts were smashed using paving slabs set aside for
O'Connell Street's reconstruction. Shops which sustained
the most damage were forced to remain closed yesterday.

While some rioters came prepared on Saturday, many were
teenagers and some were as young as 12. Eyewitnesses said
many of them appeared to have joined in an unexpected
eruption of mayhem.

Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh of Republican Sinn Féin last night
rejected claims that his organisation was involved in
orchestrating the violence. The party had held a peaceful
protest at a different part of the street, he said.

"As far as we are concerned, none of our members were
involved. I have seen no evidence to the contrary and I
haven't seen any of our members being charged. When it was
clear the [ unionist] march was not proceeding we packed up
our banners and went home."

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams condemned the violence as
"entirely wrong and reprehensible" and said his party had
urged people not to protest. There was no evidence
yesterday to back claims that some Sinn Féin activists were
involved, although witnesses reported seeing protesters
from Republican Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican
Socialist Party in the same location as the rioting mob.

The Taoiseach dismissed reports that rioters had been
"bused in" to the city, saying they were predominantly
local people.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who was in Dublin for the march,
was among those claiming that Sinn Féin activists were
involved in the rioting.

"The police confirmed to us that a number of Sinn Féin
activists were involved. Clearly the Sinn Féin leadership
is not in control of these people," he said.

The chairman of the committee organising the 1916
commemoration parade on Easter Sunday, Minister for Defence
Willie O'Dea, said he was determined that "similar elements
will not be able to hijack the event".

The parade would go ahead, but the Government was now
"alive to the possibility of an attempt to hijack the
commemoration" and there could be extra policing.

Opposition politicians questioned the level of Garda
preparedness for Saturday's riots and asked why piles of
bricks being used in construction work on O'Connell Street
were easily accessed by rioters.

Mr McDowell said the Garda had had no prior warning that
such violence would take place. Blame should be laid where
it belonged: on "a thuggish fascist fringe" who denied
others the right to march.

© The Irish Times


Dublin's Descent Into Violent Chaos

Patsy McGarry

How Saturday's events unfolded: 12:15pmA crowd of about 200
is at the corner of Parnell and O'Connell streets. The mood
is aggressive. About 30 gardaí stand alongside barriers,
preventing the protesters from going up Parnell Square. The
group, mainly youths and middle-aged men, chant "I, I,

They hold printed banners that read "RIP Josie Bradley
Murdered by Unionists", "RIP May McKenna Murdered by
Unionists", "Loyalist Death Squads Backed by the Orange
Order and the British State". Some banners carry the
letters IRSP - Irish Republican Socialist Party. They wave
black flags and Tricolours.

A group of about 100 has also gathered opposite at the foot
of the Parnell monument beside fragile fencing around
streetworks. Between both groups the passageway for
marchers looks narrow. Above them Parnell points west with,
beneath him, the lines "No man has a right to fix the
boundary to the march of a nation . . ."

12:30pmIt is calm. About 300 Love Ulster marchers line up
between the Garden of Remembrance and the Hugh Lane
gallery. A Lambeg drumbeat is loud. They carry Union Jack,
Ulster and Scottish flags, as well as at least one Orange
Order standard.

Some hold a framed plaque headed "Our Murdered Colleagues"
with an RUC insignia. Others carry a placard with their
dead listed in lengthy columns. Two women hold up separate
pictures of "Trevor Kell, Murdered December 2th 2000".
Others carry "Kingsmills Massacre" banners. "A lifetime of
terrorist genocide by Sinn Féin/IRA" reads another. And a
band plays It's a Long Way to Tipperary.

Two youths stand in a doorway holding up a makeshift
"Welcome to Your Capital" banner. In another doorway youths
unfurl a sheet with "Remember Bloody Sunday". A youth
carries a placard "We Love Ulster So Much We Want our Six
Counties Back".

12:43pmOnlookers are ushered to the pavement by gardaí.
"Ready to go," announces a voice over a Garda walkie-
talkie. The sound of firecrackers can be heard from
O'Connell Street.

Suddenly there are sirens everywhere. An unmarked Garda car
speeds from O'Connell Street towards the Mater hospital
with a man in the back. His head is bandaged. Three
ambulances head to O'Connell Street, stopping opposite the
Gate Theatre. Bangers and roars of fury can he heard from
the Parnell monument area.

A Love Ulster band begins The Sash. The crowd on the
pavement at Parnell Square swells with youths and middle-
aged men. "Bastards", "scumbags" they shout at the
marchers. "A fucking disgrace that is . . . fucking
loyalist c***s," roars another man. One vociferous middle-
aged man is wearing a metal Easter lily on his lapel. They
whistle and gesture with single fingers at the marchers.
"Orange bastards. Ye won't get by the GPO. No fucking

A young guy says to a female garda: "you're too pretty to
be a guard, ya know that . . . should've been a nurse." She
turns away.

1:10pmA group block the route the marchers are meant to
take with a street-wide banner which reads "Unite
Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter to Break the Connection
with England".

Rumours circulate that Charlie Bird and some gardaí are in
hospital. Fire engines head to O'Connell Street.

The Love Ulster marchers gather at the steps of the Hugh
Lane gallery and are addressed by speakers. They cheer and
begin to disperse.

"I, I, IRA. Fuck youse," is the response from pavement

1:21pmBuses arrive for the marchers. There is jubilation on
the pavement. "Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio," taunt the crowd;
"32, 32, 32," chant others. Others roar at the gardaí -
"Gardaí/RUC." "That's a good day's work," says one man.

Anne Kennedy from Laois tries to explain to Malik Annar
from Pakistan what is going on. He wears a Muslim hat and
has asked her "which country should I support?" She advises
him: "I think you should take advantage of your
neutrality." An elderly man says to Malik: "It's good to
see you people here. I'd prefer Allah to King Billy any

1:30pmThe buses pull away. A crowd heads towards O'Connell
Street chanting "I, I, IRA". The street is blocked by
gardaí opposite the Gate Theatre. The barrier is opened to
allow a Garda van through. As gardaí try to close it again
they are rushed aggressively by the crowd. A plainclothes
garda has a direct hit on a protester's jaw. Gardaí secure
the barrier.

"Ulster = Nine Counties not Six" reads one of their
placards. "I, I, IRA," they chant. A large green banner
says "Remember Dublin-Monaghan Bombing Victims of Unionist

O'Connell Street is a wasteland of collapsed fencing,
trenches, cobblestones, and broken glass which crunches
underfoot. Jim Larkin has his arms raised urging that "the
great are only great because we are on our knees. Let us

Before him a line of gardaí in riot gear are assailed by a
blizzard of stones and bottles. In front of them are a
couple of hundred agitated youths, some wearing Celtic
shirts, some Ireland jerseys, some with the Tricolour
wrapped around them.

A TV cameraman has blood streaming down his neck. He was
caught by flying glass when a bottle smashed. Stones and
bottles pour down. Youths run up to individual gardaí with
cobblestones, attempting to hit them in the face over their
riot shields.

A gang fills a bottle bin with plastic and rubbish and sets
it alight. It flares into clouds of black smoke. A couple
of youths shake a bus stop sign trying to remove it. They
can't. They chant: "Olé, olé, olé."

Gardaí advance towards the gang. Suddenly the youths run
towards O'Connell Bridge, up D'Olier Street. They heard on
mobile phones that the Love Ulster marchers are at Leinster
House. On the way they set fire to a motorcycle near the
statue of Sir John Gray, soon lost in smoke. A middle-aged
man nearby hands out a Republican Sinn Féin leaflet
opposing the march.

2:30pmGardaí rush along College Street heading to Leinster
House. A woman wants to know when the next bus is due. A
Garda says "there won't be any buses for a while. Get a

2:45pmAt the barrier on Molesworth Street two men - one
young, one elderly - are having an intense argument. The
elderly man explained, approvingly, that the Love Ulster
people had marched outside Leinster House. The young man is
apoplectic. "It shouldn't have been allowed here and it's
thanks to your kind this sort of thing happens at all." He
walks off with his girlfriend. The elderly man shouts after
him: "This is a democracy. Where were you in '39 to '45?"

3:05pmSouth Frederick Street. PD office window broken. In
South Leinster Street two cars are smouldering. All windows
in a van belonging to St Columba's Church of Ireland
College have been smashed, as have been the windows in two
Mercedes. Outside Phoenix House, a burnt-out, upturned car
lies strewn across the pavement, covered in a white ash. It
was there that one of the 1974 Dublin bombs went off.

3:15pmAt the end of Dawson Street, opposite the Douglas
Hyde Gallery, seven mounted gardaí are in a line across
Nassau Street. They advance towards Grafton Street with,
behind them, five Alsatian dogs on leashes, followed by a
line of gardaí in riot gear. Gang numbers are reduced.

3:21pmFour Garda vans are parked on Westmoreland Street at
the junction of Fleet Street/Temple Bar where some youths
have disappeared. Two men are standing at the corner of
Fleet Street and the Westin Hotel speaking animatedly in
Welsh. Aston Quay is barricaded by gardaí in riot gear and
routes leading from it to Temple Bar.

The gang cross Grattan Bridge into Capel Street as traders
take furniture inside their shops. The gang turns into
Lower Abbey Street. One attaches a Tricolour to a pole as
he passes. They enter the Jervis Street Shopping Centre, up
an escalator from the Abbey Street side, chanting "I, I,
IRA". They make their way rapidly through the centre,
uprooting potted plants on the way to Henry Street. A small
number of them gather outside the GPO. Soon there is a
large number of gardaí there too. "Listen folks, will ye go
home," urges a young garda. Soon gardaí and gang have

4:15pmOn Upper O'Connell Street the clean-up is almost
complete. The bottle bin opposite Penneys smoulders.
Windows at Schuh, Foot Locker, McDonald's, Eddie Rockets
have been smashed.

4:30pmThe skeleton of the burnt-out motorcycle smoulders.
In its entrails is a copy of Saoirse, Republican Sinn
Féin's newspaper. Its front page reads "Oppose Loyalist

© The Irish Times


13 Before Special Sitting Of District Court

Christine Newman

Thirteen people were charged in connection with the
disturbances in Dublin city centre and appeared before a
special sitting of Dublin District Court at the Bridewell
on Saturday night.

One man was charged with arson of cars, eight people with
public-order offences, and four, including two Lithuanian
nationals, with looting.

Judge JP McDonnell remanded two in custody to appear on
April 7th at Cloverhill and the rest were remanded on bail
to appear at Dublin District Court tomorrow, Wednesday or

Dean Heapes (20) Clonronald Road, Donnycarney, Dublin, was
charged with arson causing €20,000 worth of damage to two
Mercedes cars in South Leinster Street and endangering
public safety. He was refused bail and remanded in custody
to Cloverhill on April 7th.

Joseph Conlon (19), Cherry Avenue, Swords, was charged with
public-order offences at Aston Quay. He was also refused
bail and remanded in custody until April 7th to Cloverhill.

Two Lithuanian men and two Irish women were charged with
looting at the Schuh footwear shop in O'Connell Street.

One was a Lithuanian juvenile charged with theft and fraud,
meaning looting, at the shop. Eduard Milebskij (19), Summer
Street, North Circular Road, was charged with looting.

Also charged with the same offence were Veronica Ennis
(18), Cremor Road, Ballyfermot, and Caitríona Goulding
(27), Kilmainham Road, both Dublin.

The remainder were charged with public-order offences. They
are Maurice Voelkin (30), Suir Road, Kilmainham, Dublin;
Brendan Grennell (29), Crossker Hostel, Longford Lane,
Dublin; John O'Reilly, Harcourt Street, Dublin; Neil Kennan
(24), Eton Way, Rathcoole, Co Dublin; Fabio Adinolfi, an
Italian national of no fixed abode. Patrick Roche (20),
Mellows Road, Finglas, Dublin, and Andrew Kenny (18),
Moretown House, Moretown, Dublin, were charged with a
public-order offence of verbal abuse.

Court hearing: the charges


Dean Heapes 20 Clonronald Road, Donnycarney, Dublin Arson,
criminal damage, endangering public safety.

Joseph Conlon 19 Cherry Avenue, Swords, Public order

Juvenile Looting

Eduard Milebskij 19 Summer Street, North Circular Rd,
Dublin Looting

Veronica Ennis 18 Cremor Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin Looting

Caitríona Goulding 27 Kilmainham Road, Dublin Looting

Maurice Voelkin 30 Suir Road, Kilmainham, Dublin Public-
order offences

Brendan Grennell 29 Crossker Hostel, Longford Lane, Dublin
Public-order offences

John O'Reilly Harcourt Street, Dublin Public-order offences

Neil Kennan 24 Eton Way, Rathcoole, Co Dublin; Public-order

Fabio Adinolfi No fixed abode. Public-order offences

Patrick Roche 20 Mellows Road, Finglas, Dublin Verbal
abuse, public-order offence

Andrew Kenny 18 Moretown House, Moretown, Dublin Verbal
abuse, public-order offence

© The Irish Times


They Sing Olé, Olé, Olé As They Throw Missiles And Shout I,

Róisín Ingle on O'Connell Street

Eyewitness: This is Dublin on a bright Saturday afternoon
close to 90 years after the 1916 rising. A fire is spewing
out black smoke near enough to the GPO to make you wonder
from afar whether the iconic building is on fire. Looters
run out of shops wearing smiles and carrying armfuls of
stolen produce.

Cries of "Brits out" and "free staters" and "RUC gardaí"
come out of the mouths of masked men and a small number of
women. Young boys throw bottles across makeshift barricades
at people they think might be "the Protestants" but who are
just fellow rioters.

The shutters are down on most shops, the frightened staff
cowering inside. Planks of wood, bottles, rocks, bangers,
pipes, building blocks fly through the air at gardaí.

A skip is overturned in the middle of O'Connell Street; a
man with a bloody face is shouting about police brutality.
This is Dublin - you have to keep reminding yourself of

In town to do some shopping, we park the car in Fleet
Street at about 1.50pm. Hearing shouting and sirens we walk
towards the crowds on O'Connell Bridge and see people
hanging out of the Daniel O'Connell statue just like they
do at the St Patrick's Day's march, to get a better view.

Further down the street, near Eason, a line of gardaí in
riot gear is being pelted with an eclectic range of
missiles, anything from full bottles of fizzy orange to
large pieces of rubble from the roadworks that line the

The mostly male rioters use Irish flags as cloaks and green
football scarves as masks to cover their faces. Ordinary
Dubliners. Extraordinary day.

This is Dublin - you can see the Spire soaring over the
crowds, so it must be.

There are families with children standing at the window of
the first floor of McDonald's taking pictures at what's
going on below even as teenagers wearing Tricolour masks
attempt to shatter the window of the ground floor of the
takeaway restaurant with metal bars.

Across the road, a young boy, he can't be more than 16,
uses a length of pipe to smash the windows of the Ulster
Bank. A cheer erupts. "Where are the orange bastards?"
someone shouts.

"They've gone to the Dáil," someone else replies.

Outside Schuh, a large shop on O'Connell Street, a man who
looks about 18 uses a rock to bash away at the plate glass.
The same thing is happening at the Footlocker shop next
door and Clark's up the road.

After several attempts, the glass on the doors begins to
splinter and shatter, metal barriers are hauled up and
seconds later, young men and women run into the shop,
coming out with a variety of booty including shoes and
boots and bags.

"Have you got size six?" roars one woman at her friend. A
man stands outside and motions through the window to his
friend inside the shop, picking out a particular brand of
sports shoe. People emerge from the shops with jumpers
filled with produce, sports bags and trainers and

Two girls start screaming at each other, arguing over which
one of them is entitled to a stolen bag. Minutes pass until
eventually several gardaí break from their line to protect
the shop. The looters run away laughing.

"I hope it fits me," says one man, breaking off the tag
from a grey sweatshirt he has just liberated from a store.

We take pictures and make videos of the action with our
digital cameras and our mobile phones. Those of us not
taking part stand watching. Some of us are laughing, some
of us are cheering, some of us are doing a running
commentary, some of us are saying nothing, some of us
shaking our heads.

It is surreal, like a revolution that should be happening
somewhere else, in some foreign country, or, you know, at
least as far away as the North, where we can watch it from
the comfort of our sitting rooms.

"You fucking Brit-loving bastards," a rioter shouts at the
gardaí. "Protecting fucking Protestants. You should be
ashamed to be Irish." Some of us are.

"All Irish people do not feel this way," a Dublin woman
with tears in her eyes says to a black man who is recording
the looting with his camcorder. "I know that, I know," he
tells her. "This is what happens all the time to us, now
you understand. You Irish think every Nigerian is crazy."

The woman nods. Now she understands.

It is, you can't help thinking when a brief lull descends
and the gardaí start to clear people from O'Connell Bridge,
a lovely day for a riot. Puffy clouds have arranged
themselves across a blue sky, the sun shines and a stiff
breeze is on hand to flutter the banners which urge us to
remember the Dublin/Monaghan bombings or to cool those who
get sweaty while running away from the gardaí through
glass-strewn streets.

At about 3pm the crowds are moved on to Aston Quay.

These are Dubliners. They sing Olé, Olé, Olé as they throw
missiles and they shout I, I, IRA. Outside the Londis
newsagents at the corner of Westmoreland Street and Aston
Quay, one of the ringleaders of this rioting faction wears
a black football top that is an homage to the hunger
strikers 25 years ago. Sands 81 is printed in white
lettering on the back. Obligingly, he stops throwing
bottles long enough to explain why he is here.

"It's those Protestants coming down here," he says in a
strong Dublin accent, spitting out the words.

"They are nothing but Orange c***s. They are Shankill Boys
and Shankill Butchers. They are marching in memory of
people killed by the IRA, but the IRA wouldn't have had to
kill anyone if Catholics weren't tortured and given no jobs
and treated like second-class citizens.

"And if they like England so much then tell them to go
back. There is a B&I ferry leaving the port down the road
at 4pm. Tell them to go fuck themselves and go back there
because this," he gestures around at the masked youths
firing bottles at the gardaí, "is Ireland's answer to

Someone has found a wheelie bin full of empty bottles in a
side street leading to Temple Bar. The contents are spilled
on to Aston Quay and rioters help themselves to missiles
from this unorthodox bottle bank. As they throw bottles, a
man takes a spade to the side window of the Londis store.

After a few swings, a jagged hole is cut in the window and
men and women swarm around it, reaching in for boxes of
chocolates and cans of beer which they raise jubilantly
like trophies over their heads.

Gardaí swarm around them, chasing the looters, waving their
batons, ordering people off the street.

A boy who looks about 12-years-old tells me he just hit a
garda on the head with a bottle.

"It was deadly," he says.

"He's been driven to it by the Protestants and the Brits,"
says one man anxious to justify the boy's actions.

The crowd is pushed further down the quay by the gardaí.
The rioters notice a CCTV camera on the side of a building.
The camera is moving this way and that, as if under the
circumstances it doesn't quite know where to look.

A masked teenager shimmies up the building and after a
couple of attempts manages to disconnect the camera. There
is a cheer.

Gardaí move in again and the rioters escape down a side
street into Temple Bar where tourists sipping cappuccinos
in coffee bars or downing pints in bars look on in

The rioters engage in a stand- off with gardaí in Temple
Bar. One puts his finger to his head as though it's a gun
and shouts

"Bang bang, Jerry McCabe, bang bang, Jerry McCabe".

"Keep saying that, lads, it drives them [ gardaí] mad," he
shouts at his fellow rioters. Riot vans appear and an
amplified garda voice booms out telling us to leave the
streets or else we will be forcibly removed. The rioters
cross the bridge into Capel Street, swigging cans of beer,
singing about the IRA and waving Irish flags as they go.

Around the corner in the Temple Bar food market, people are
buying organic vegetables and eating tortillas while a
busker plays a sorrowful tune on a tin whistle. This is

© The Irish Times


Dublin Riots Damage Fragile Peace Efforts

By Brian Lavery The New York Times
Sunday, February 26, 2006

DUBLIN Political leaders widely dismissed the riots that
surrounded a planned parade by Northern Irish Protestants
in Dublin as the regrettable actions of teenage hoodlums.

But even before workmen had swept up the rubble and broken
glass on O'Connell Street, the Irish capital's main
boulevard, the disturbances Saturday had significantly
damaged British plans to restore Northern Ireland's power-
sharing local government.

Violence broke out when the police confronted roving gangs
of Irish republicans who opposed the march, which was
organized by a Protestant group called Families Acting for
Innocent Relatives.

Fierce battles between the police and the mostly Dublin-
based protesters forced the cancellation of the march, and
briefly turned a sunny afternoon into a chaotic melee, with
thousands of dollars worth of property damage, bricks
flying over the heads of weekend shoppers, and cars set on
fire outside Ireland's national art gallery. The police
arrested 41 people, and 14 were hospitalized, including 6
police officers.

About 300 Protestants, including several marching bands in
full uniform, were stopped by the police before they could
proceed down O'Connell Street, Dublin's main boulevard.
They wanted to march to the Irish Parliament and stage a
protest against tolerance of violence by groups like the
Irish Republican Army.

Protestants in Northern Ireland want the province to remain
part of Britain, and have traditionally viewed their
neighbors in the Irish republic, who are predominantly
Roman Catholic, with suspicion.

The "Love Ulster" parade was viewed as a gauge of tolerance
levels here.

The "disgraceful" riots represented "an attempt to stoke
sectarian tension on our streets," the Irish foreign
minister, Dermot Ahern, said Sunday. "It was a crass and
deeply misguided attempt to radicalize, to drive people to
the extremes."

Representatives from Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing,
earlier made statements encouraging their supporters to
ignore the march, and the Irish public was widely expected
to do the same. But crowds of Dubliners lined the route of
the march, shouting vulgar catcalls and waving homemade
banners encouraging the Northern Irish demonstrators to go
back home. A handful of young Dubliners who opposed to the
Protestant march directly confronted the police, using as
weapons construction equipment that was left unattended on
the street and smashing windows of shops and of heavy

The clashes will help to erode the flimsy trust of Northern
Irish Protestants, and make it even more difficult for
Northern Irish Protestant and Roman Catholic political
parties to engage in negotiations.

Tensions between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland
are at the highest point in nearly a decade.

Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of Ulster's largest political
party, the hardline Democratic Unionists, last week refused
to meet with Ahern, and has caused diplomatic disputes by
repeatedly accusing Mary McAleese, the Belfast-born
Catholic president of the Irish Republic, of hating the

Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain canceled a trip to
Northern Ireland this month when it became clear that there
was not enough potential for any progress in getting
Protestant and Catholic parties to talk to each other.


Love And War

Sinead McCavana
25 February 2006

The 'Love Ulster' rally in Dublin descended in total
anarchy yesterday as republican rioters went on the rampage
in protest at the loyalist parade.

The city's prestigious O'Connell Street - teeming with
Saturday shoppers - was plunged into chaos as gardai fought
running battles with protestors.

The sheer scale of the riot - which lasted for more than
two hours - shocked television viewers around the globe.

Gardai in riot gear were drafted in as youths threw
literally everything they could get their hands on at
police lines.

The anarchy was fuelled by a ready-made arsenal of weapons
in the form of building materials from construction sites
lining the thoroughfare - the widest street in the

Everything from bricks, steel fences, pieces of machinery
and fireworks were hurled at members of the gardai.

Dozens of empty soft-drink bottles - looted from a nearby
pub - were also hurled at cops and journalists covering the

Earlier, the 'Love Ulster' parade - which was due to start
at 12.30pm - looked like it would pass off peacefully.

Around 50 Republican Sinn Fein protestors holding placards
had gathered, but just 30 minutes later, thousands had
gathered and completely blocked the road. From that moment
on, the future of the loyalist march was in doubt.

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson - one of the rally
organisers - told marchers: "It's a sad day when, in the
21st century, republicans can't stand to have a unionist
about the place."

After gardai told organisers they could not guarantee the
parade's safety, bandsmen played the Sash before re-
boarding their buses with the Union Flag.

As they climbed onto the coaches, protestors chanted,
"Cheerio, cheerio" and "Where's your march now, Jeffrey?"

Said one onlooker: "What did they expect?

"They think they can come here and march past the spot
where loyalists killed dozens of Irish people?

"Emotions are running very high. Would republicans get to
march up the Shankill? No, I don't think so."

However, even after republican protesters left the area,
the riot on O'Connell Street still gathered pace.

Shopkeepers had - perhaps wisely - shut up for the day.

But that didn't stop a few looters chancing their arm and
smashing windows in two shoe shops - but gardai pinned them
against a wall before they could make good their escape.

One middle-aged Dublin woman said: "What was (Republic
justice minister) Michael McDowell thinking, having this
parade on a building site?

"Sure, everything they need for a riot is sitting right

"Look at the state of our beautiful new (O'Connell) street.

"How far is this going to set us all back just when we
thought we were making progress."

She added: "People are going to watch this on TV and think
we're all bigots down here.

"No one expected this.

"But feelings still run very deep.

"I think it's still too sensitive to have a parade like

"If the march just involved the victims' relatives, that
would be different. But it's not.

"It's the bandsmen and the Union Jack that infuriate

Following behind gardai - holding their shields above their
heads to protect themselves - people were stepping over
blood-splattered pavements and bricks.

Another local man was clearly stunned at the trail of

He said: "Thugs. That's all they are.

"This is disgraceful - absolutely disgusting. Look at the
Jim Larkin statue and all the madness that's going on at
his feet - he's holding his hands up as if to say, 'Why?'"

Riot police kept forcing the rioters back in strategically
planned charges until the mob had been pushed off O'Connell

Although the trouble eased, a tense stand off continued on
O'Connell Bridge.

Late last night, gardai reported the city-centre to be


Rioters Will Be Brought To Justice: McDowell(V2)

26 February 2006 17:30

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has said he accepts
that gardaí had no advance knowledge that the vicious
rioting was planned.

He said there would not be a public inquiry but gardaí
needed to carry out an operational investigation and learn
from what happened.

Describing those responsible as thugs, Mr McDowell said
they could not be allowed to decide who should exercise
their civil liberties.

He said he expects further criminal prosecutions would take
place after gardaí view CCTV footage of the day's events.

The Minister told RTÉ News that those responsible for the
rioting would be brought to justice.

The violence erupted after protestors gathered in the city
centre to demonstrate against the holding of a parade to
commemorate the victims of republican violence.

Assistant Garda Commissioner, Al McHugh, has said garda
intelligence did not indicate that a high grade counter-
protest was going to take place on the scale that occurred.

Mr McHugh said many of those involved in the violence had
been drinking in some pubs in Dublin city and used the
opportunity to commit acts of random violence.

Thirteen of the 41 people arrested following the riots were
charged with public order offences before a special sitting
of Dublin District Court last night.

The defendants are aged between 17 and 30 and include two

One 20-year-old man has been charged with arson and causing
€20,000 worth of damage to two cars.

Of the 13 people charged, 11 were released on bail and two
were refused bail. The remaining 28 were released without

Meanwhile, retailers in Dublin city centre estimate the
trading loss for businesses forced to close because of the
rioting could cost millions of euro.

A number of retails premises were damaged and looted during
the violence.

A spokesman for IBEC's Retail Ireland group said the
rioting did not just affect businesses but also damaged the
reputation of Dublin at home and abroad.

Aebhric McGibney of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said
retailers are counting the costs that could be up to €10m.

Protestors clash with gardaí

The trouble broke out just before 1pm at the junction of
Parnell Street and O'Connell Street, near where the
protestors had gathered.

The protestors clashed with gardaí in further skirmishes at
O'Connell Bridge, Nassau Street, Aston Quay, Fleet Street
and Temple Bar.

Fourteen people including six gardaí were admitted to
hospital as a result of the disturbances.

O'Connell Street was cleared of debris and the road was re-
opened by late yesterday afternoon although shop owners and
the City Council are continuing to assess the damage,
estimated to be in the region of €50,000.

Republican Sinn Féin, one of the organisers of protests
against the Love Ulster march, placed the blame on the
authorities for allowing the march to go ahead in the first

President Mary McAleese said the violence was unnecessary
and 'totally unacceptable'.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has blamed republican
dissidents for starting the trouble, although he said they
were quickly joined by local people.


This Week: Michael McDowell, Minister for Justice, speaks
about the riots in Dublin city centre and plans for a garda
reserve force

This Week: Al McHugh, Assistant Garda Commissioner,
addresses criticisms of the preparations made by gardaí for
yesterday's planned loyalist march


Opin: Dublin Riots: What Happened And Why

Dublin Summit Mobilisations Opinion/Analysis Sunday
February 26, 2006 21:26 by Indy Photographer –
Indymedia Ireland Editorial Group

A political analysis of the Dublin riots and why nobody saw
them coming

I, like almost everybody I know, didn't predict the events
of Saturday. In fact the only person I know who did predict
a major riot was a friend of mine who happens to hail from
the wee North - in retrospect I should have realised that
he had his finger on the pulse, for not only does he have
much more experience of sectarian marches, but through his
job he knows many of the people who were involved and has
an unusual insight and sympathy for those people who most
Dubliners write off as 'scumbags' and 'knackers'. This
article is an analysis of what happened and why almost
everybody got it so wrong. This article is a companion
piece to the photo essay which I published yesterday at:


I have a lot of experience of protesting and policing,
having attended many of the most hyped and heavily policed
events that Dublin has seen in the last decade as well as
some of the biggest and most volatile international
protests that have occurred around the world, both as a
participant and a cameraman. From this it is obvious to me
that the police were similarly completely surprised by the
events of Saturday February 25th in central Dublin.

I also know that the Gardai are more than capable of
policing contentious and potentially volatile protests in
what would be regarded as a way that is in line with
international policing norms. I was there on the Navan road
when 3,000 anti-capitalist protestors made the march to
Farmleigh on Mayday 2004. On that day there were thousands
of police deployed and although the protestors managed to
get much closer to the location of the summit than the
police would have liked, the state was never in any danger
of losing control of the situation. They had deployed
thousands of police in riot gear, backed up by water cannon
and a massive deployment of surveillance technology and
they successfully contained the protestors much as their
international colleagues routinely do. Therefore, I do not
think that it is conceivable that the complete under-
preparedness of the gardai could possibly be a result of
incompetence in terms of their ability to police events -
they have proved very successful at containing much bigger
protests in the past.

There have been some suggestions that our power-crazed
minister for justice or other sinister forces within the 26
country state may have deliberately failed to prepare
adequately to police this event in order to further some
security or anti-republican agenda. While I'm sure the
minister for justice would love to have the power to do
this, I'm also certain that he doesn't and that this theory
is entirely implausible. Gardai are generally not happy to
be sent out under prepared to face rioters and if there had
been any inkling that a riot was likely to ensue, the
guards would have been extremely unwilling - to say the
least - to be used as target practice in such a scheme,
pawns in the minister's power game. As it is the gardai on
the ground were extremely angry and remain so that they
were sent out to police a situation without anything like
the resources that they would have needed to contain the
situation. Furthermore, I talked to the Superintendent who
appeared to be in charge of operations on the day and
several ordinary gardai and they all expressed the same
opinion - that they had anticipated some 'trouble' but
nothing like the rioting that happened and while it is a
foolish person who believes anything just because the
Gardai say it is so (I remember the stream of lies and
smears that the Garda press office came out with in the run
up to Mayday 2004) - these reactions seemed genuine and

Therefore, I think it is clear that the guards were
genuinely taken completely by surprise by the events of the
day and I think that the reasons for them being surprised
were exactly the same as the reasons that I and almost all
of the other political activists whom I know were similarly
taken by surprise.

Essentially, our mistake was to assume that political
protests need to be organised by somebody. In general this
is true and I don't know of any other event that has taken
place in Dublin in the last 20 years which happened without
being organised or planned by some organisation or other.
The riots of central Dublin were an exception to this rule,
no organisation planned them and almost nobody saw them

The Garda intelligence reports in advance of the march
would have told them that Sinn Fein were trying as hard as
they could to keep their members away from the protest - I
believe that they announced that anybody who was seen in
the city centre on the day would be banned from their
functions for 6 months and this largely worked, I only saw
a single shinner in the city throughout the day and he was
obviously there as a sanctioned observer and remained
behind police lines (where I also inadvertently found
myself). Similarly, the Gardai know that the 32CSM had
called off their protest and were not interested in
provoking a confrontation. While Republican Sinn Fein did
organise a counter protest, the gardai pretty much know
what their membership has for breakfast and are well aware
that they are a tiny organisation based around a small
number of traditional republican families who are
completely incapable of mobilising more than a few dozen
die-hards. The 4th significant Republican group, the IRSP,
are virtually non-existant in the south and are incapable
of organising anything. Besides the Gardai were well aware
of the fact that the march was intended as a provocation, a
trap for republicans to fall into and that the various
republican groups were intelligent enough to recognise this
and avoid falling into it.

The other political current that regularly causes the
Gardai security worries in Dublin is the anarchists and the
Gardai would have been well aware that the anarchist
organisations were not at all interested in stoking the
flames of sectarianism. The Gardai read indymedia for their
intelligence like the rest of us and they would have been
aware that the anarchists were not planning trouble for
this march - being more interested in taking the piss out
of the bigots than getting into a ruck with them. They knew
that neither the WSM nor Organise! the two formal anarchist
organisations in the country were simply not going to get
involved in organising a protest that would be seen as
nationalist and sectarian. Thus the Gardai came to the same
assesment that I did - no political organisations who were
capable of causing trouble were mobilising to oppose the
loyalist march and they were right. From the long years
that I have spent attending and covering protests I
recognise a lot of faces from these various groups and they
simply weren't involved in the confrontation - those whom I
saw were bemusedly observing the whole thing from the
sidelines. The people who are claiming that the events were
orchestrated by this or that political group are simply
liars who are pursuing various agendas and cynically using
the riot to attack their political opponents. From the
fantasist pathological liars of the Sunday Independent to
the PDs, every reactionary in the country will use any such
event as this to smear their opponents and they can be
safely ignored by anybody who is seeking to understand
these events.

So, if it wasn't organised by political groups, how did it

The people who took part in the rioting were largely drawn
from the urban poor, mostly disenfranchised young men from
impoverished estates around Dublin, people who normally
have no political voice whatsoever, people who rarely vote,
who are disorganised, who live in communities that have
been ravaged by poverty and drug and alcohol abuse, people
who many of those who live lives of privilege and relative
comfort write off as 'scumbags' or whom the Marxists
describe as 'lumpen'. Although these people are generally
seen as apolitical and disinterested in politics, this is
not entirely true. Many of them have a deep and abiding
sense of identity which is derived from their nationalism
or patriotism. As my friend said to me, he is constantly
amazed at the number of young men from impoverished
communities who sport tricolour or pro-IRA tattoos, despite
the fact that they have no political involvement in any of
the Republican or Nationalist organizations.

This sense of identity is expressed in various ways in
addition to the tattoos - from the houses and flats decked
out in green bunting during the world cup, to the well
known 'bar stool republicanism' and popularity of
nationalist songs in the bars where the poor drink, to the
widespread and passionate support for Glasgow Celtic
Football Club among the poor and disenfranchised. An
instinctive nationalism and a strong sense of identity for
their own community is the real political expression of the
urban poor in Dublin. The idea that the loyalist
paramilitaries could come and march through their city, by
the GPO - ground zero of Irish republicanism - was
sufficiently provocative to enrage these people on a much
deeper level than any of the habitual attacks on their
living conditions or economic lives could possibly do. They
are used to being at the bottom, to being shat upon by the
rest of society, but their nationalism and sense of
community identity is one thing that gives them pride in
themselves - allowing the loyalists to march through their
city and to disrespect their identity would be a full
frontal assault on their pride and pride is all they have.

Therefore, despite the lack of mobilisation by any of the
political groups and in some cases (as with Sinn Fein) the
active efforts to stop their supporters attending, groups
of youth from all over the city headed into town to oppose
the loyalist march. Many of them obviously prepared
themselves with projectiles and fireworks, presumably
intending to hurl them at the loyalists. From my position
behind the police lines I witnessed several golf balls and
ball bearings (one of which struck me on the leg) being
thrown over the lines of the riot police and bangers and
rockets continuously exploded on the ranks of the riot
police. Therefore, I think it is clear that a fair number
of those who took part in the riots were prepared to throw
projectiles at the loyalist march. However, it is also
clear that none of this was coordinated, it didn't have to
be. It doesn't take any coordination or organisation for a
bunch of mates to head into town together with a few
projectiles and since the anti-loyalist sentiment is
widespread, it doesn't take any great leap of imagination
to picture groups of youths from all over the city arriving
at the idea independently and that's what happened.

I talked to several people from different areas of the city
who reported groups of youth from impoverished areas of the
city travelling into town on buses talking loudly about
their plans to pelt the loyalists. It was probably the one
political issue in Dublin which was certain to lead to such
a decentralised mobilisation. Anybody who is familiar with
the patterns of sectarian rioting in the North knows that
although the rioting is normally controlled, to a greater
or lesser extent, by paramilitary groups, the vast majority
of the participants are local youths who are not members of
any political organisation - exactly the same section of
society as those who rioted in Dublin and indeed the same
section of society who are almost always the ones to riot -
from Paris to Argentina it is the impoverished youth on the
margins of society who riot, having nothing to lose and
little fear of authority.

How did the situation escalate?

However, what eventually occurred in central Dublin was
much more than a few bunches of youths pelting the marchers
with small projectiles and fireworks, it turned into a full
scale riot. How did this come about?

The RSF counter demonstration provided a rallying point for
all of these disenfranchised people who made their way into
Dublin early on Saturday morning. By the time that the
march was due to begin at 12.30, the handful of RSF
supporters taking part in the demonstration had been joined
by a few hundred of these unaffiliated anti-loyalist youth.
The Gardai had corralled the RSF demonstration behind
barriers in the middle of the road, but this was not a
crowd that was going to accept the right of the Gardai to
tell them where to stand. As I approached the Parnell
monument from Parnell Square shortly after 12.30 with an
indymedia videographer and saw the counter-demonstration,
it was immediately clear to us that the loyalist march was
not going to be able to leave Parnell Square at all. The
protestors were utterly enraged. People were screaming at
the guards "call yourself fucking Irish, you'll let them
march and you won't let us march up to them", "orange
bastards" and "free state scum" and other similar epithets.

There were also large numbers of working class youth
amassing at the junction of Parnell Street and O'Connell
Street and the crowd was growing all the time. O'Connell
street is flanked on its East side by a large concentration
of impoverished flat complexes and council houses - an area
that has housed some of Dublin’s poorest communities for
over a century. Many of the people who were arriving at the
flash point were locals who may not even have known about
the march, but when they learned that the Gardai were
cordoning off their communities to allow a loyalist march
through, they became similarly enraged and heaped abuse
upon the Gardai 'traitors' who were holding back the

The crowd from the counter demonstration surged through the
barriers into the road and the Gardai responded in the
standard way that they do when a demonstration breaks
through a barrier, they called up the riot squad who
launched a baton charge into the crowd to clear the way for
the loyalist march. However, they were not dealing with a
normal political demonstration, they were dealing with the
most disenfranchised sector of society, a group with very
different characteristics from your normal political
demonstrators, the anti-loyalist demonstration was
immediately transformed into an anti-Garda riot that led to
the forces of order completely losing control of central
Dublin for the next few hours.

In general, people who attend political demonstrations are
people who have some type of long-term goal that they are
aiming towards. Their political acts are part of some
strategy and crucially they have something to lose. Not so
with this crowd. These are people whose communities are
completely ignored by the Gardai and the state, whose only
interactions with the Gardai are to receive beatings and
general persecution from them. In this self same community,
only a few hundred yards away from the flash-point, a local
man by the name of Terrence Wheelock died in highly dubious
circumstances while in custody and it is widely believed
that he was beaten to death by the Gardai. Indeed beatings
in custody have become so common for local youths that they
are hardly remarked upon and almost accepted within 'polite
society'. These are people who have little or nothing to
lose, who take pride in the fact that they have no fear,
who are accustomed to being powerless and trodden upon by
the state and who have a deep rage about this state of
affairs, a rage which is generally expressed in a self-
destructive way. Many of them are known to the Gardai. For
once they found a large number of people with a similar
experience gathered together in the one spot and for once
they massively outnumbered the Gardai.

Normally on a demonstration a single policeman can handle a
dozen protestors or so since they have a huge arsenal of
repressive measures at their disposal and demonstrators
know it well and are afraid of the consequences of their
actions. People who have nothing to lose are an entirely
different proposition. Thus, as soon as the police charged
the crowd to clear the way for the march, they were greeted
with an avalanche of projectiles, bricks, rockets, crude
home-made petrol bombs and so on. Intense fighting broke
out around the junction of Parnell Street and O'Connell
street. Lumps of masonry showered down all around. Many of
the participants took no measures whatsoever to conceal
their identities. In those cases where they did 'mask up',
it seemed that they did so because that was how rioters
were supposed to look rather than being an effective way to
conceal their identities. These were the people who aren't
afraid of the Gardai - who will fight back when they are
arrested by a half dozen guards on a typical Saturday
night, and for once they had the weight of numbers.

The Gardai were visibly shocked by the reaction to their
attempt to clear the road. None of the yellow-jacketed
guards had been issued with helmets and several went down
with head injuries in the initial wave of fighting. Even
the riot police looked shell shocked as a massive wave of
projectiles beat down upon their shields. Fearless
teenagers danced up to their lines taunting them and
receiving batons across the head without seemingly caring
for their own safety at all. This was an explosion of rage
from the poorest and most marginalised in society and an
explosion the likes of which had not been seen in Dublin
for decades.

O'Connell street was a building site and bricks, paving
stones, barricades and oil cans were neatly arranged all
along it, almost like an ammunition dump for rioters.
Combine that with the proximity of many of the poorest
residential areas in the city where the Gardai are feared
and hated and the reasonable number of destitute drug users
who you will find around O'Connell street on an average
Saturday and you had a ready supply of people and
ammunition for a proper riot and that was what we saw.
There were probably no more than 200 people who were
involved in the initial onslaught, but hundreds more joined
in as the fighting made its way down O'Connell Street.
Local youths could be seen coming out of side streets
phoning their mates and as the fighting progressed more and
more people joined in. I'd estimate that over a thousand
people took part in the events in one way or another. Every
time that the riot squad managed to advance a few metres,
they would have to leave a line of police to guard any of
the side streets that they had passed as more and more
locals came out to see what was happening. There were
crowds massed all along the side streets and most of their
sympathies appeared to lie with the rioters. At one stage
some of the more political Republicans who had organised
the counter-protest engaged in a sit down protest in front
of the riot police advance. Presumably they had decided
that they wanted to distance themselves from the rioters
and mount a protest that was less liable to be associated
with mindless violence. Predictably they were brutally
beaten and promptly cleared from the road. Shortly
afterwards, I witnessed a half dozen Gardai trying to
arrest an individual who had become trapped behind police
lines, a crowd of onlookers let out an enraged shout and
started rushing over to intervene - causing the Gardai to
relinquish their hold. The street was still thronged with
shoppers and passers by many of whom seemed entirely
nonplussed by the riot, simply standing towards the sides
of the roads or wandering around behind police lines
without taking part in the fighting, but clearly more
sympathetic to the rioters than the Gardai.

The balance of forces and the fearlessness of the rioters
left the Gardai in the impossible position of being unable
to control the area. They only had a few dozen riot police
and they were basically limited to keeping the rioters at
bay as wave after wave of projectiles rained down upon
them. On several occasions uniformed police tried to clear
the area behind the line of riot police, but they failed
completely as nobody was willing to cooperate. By the time
the Gardai had driven the crowd back towards the junction
of O'Connell Street and Abbey Street, the police operation
had come to a complete standstill. Hundreds of people, many
of them young teenagers, continued to fight the police and
hurl missiles at them. There were only about 30 riot police
thinly stretched across the road and barely able to keep
the crowd at bay. All of the uniformed officers were tied
up trying to prevent the crowds of onlookers from joining
in from the side streets behind the front lines and many
protestors and shoppers wandered around bemusedly behind
the police lines, climbing on top of skips and building
machinery to get a good look at the action.

Behind the lines of the rioters, looting broke out.
Although I didn't observe it, witnesses report that several
women from the inner city were seen filling bags full of
shoes from the shops and engaging in a bit of 'discount
shopping'. The police were not even nearly in a position to
do anything about it. They had lost control of the city and
were mostly just trying to protect themselves as the riot
was now almost entirely an anti-police and anti-state
affair. As they did their best to protect themselves, the
looting continued and sections of the crowd also targeted
various prominent symbols of capitalism - all the banks in
the area had their windows broken as well as the nearby

As far as I could see there was virtually no presence among
the rioters from anybody 'political' apart from a small
number of the more youthful dissident Republican and
anarchist sympathisers. The members of political parties
that I recognised were generally behind police lines with
attitudes that went from bewilderment to bemusement. This
was a riot borne out of anger and disenfranchisement, an
expression of rage that was almost without a political aim
- the only common target was the state and the
establishment, the loyalists were almost forgotten about by
this stage.

At around this time, I observed a surge in the crowd and a
man in a brown coat running towards the edges of the police
lines. He was pursued by a dozen people or so who were
raining down blows upon him. He reached the edge of the
side street that runs along the South side of the GPO and a
hail of bricks, bottles and stones rained down around his
head. As he staggered through the police lines and into a
side street a large metal poll - the type that typically
supports a street sign - just missed his head and dealt him
a side swipe. A foot or so to the right and it would have
killed him. At the time I wondered what had led the crowd
to turn their anger upon this individual and I guessed that
he had been identified as a member of the police special

It seems that this was in fact RTE's Charlie Bird who had
been fingered by the crowd as an 'orange bastard' and set
upon. This was most unfair to Charlie, who is most
certainly not an orangeman and it seems that he was utterly
confused about why this had happened. Although this is just
my own speculation, I assume that what happened went
something like the following. Somebody recognised him as
Charlie Bird from RTE and thus a member of the
establishment. RTE is generally felt by republicans to be
anti-republican (with some justification) and thus whoever
recognised him saw him as a representative of both the
establishment and of RTE's anti-republican stance and
called him an 'orange bastard'. In such a situation being
fingered publicly as an infiltrator is only likely to lead
to one thing. He was very lucky to get away with his life.
Throughout the day several other journalists were similarly
shocked to be targeted by rioters, few of them seemed to
realise that this was a consequence of the rioters simply
not 'giving a fuck' how they were represented in the media
- they weren't making a political point, they were
expressing the rage of the excluded. Even this indymedia
photographer had a similar experience later in the day with
an angry young man who told me that he didn't give a fuck
what indy-fucking media I was working for and might have
easily decided to take it further was it not for the fact
that I was obviously known to the group of protestors
around me.

After the standoff had been reached and the attendant
constant barrage of debris had lasted for about an hour at
the junction of O'Connell Street and Abbey Street, a large
section of the crowd - those who had been most heavily
engaged in the fighting - suddenly turned on their heels
and took off south across O'Connell bridge at a run. I
heard various theories that might have sparked this. Some
said that a rumour had gone around that the loyalists had
made their way around O'Connell Street and had arrived at
the Dail, however, I think it is just as likely that the
rioters realised that they had won control of the city
centre and had decided to take the riot to the wealthy
south side of the city. In any case, I remained trapped
behind the line of riot police and was not able to follow
them. Then, some 15 minutes later, myself and the indymedia
videographer with me found our way out down a lane linking
the side of the GPO to Abbey Street and followed the crowd
towards the south side of the city. Bizzarelly, it appeared
that there were no police around whatsoever. Traffic was
still running south along Westmoreland Street directly into
the riot on Lower O'Connell Street. As I reached College
Green, the first police van tore by heading for Nassau
Street, this being a full twenty minutes after the crowd
had arrived. As I reached Nassau Street I witnessed an
incredibly bizzare and disconcerting sight. On my left a
mob was torching cars, on my right Grafton Street shopping
continued very much like any ordinary Saturday afternoon. I
wandered down towards the crowd to find a thin line of
Gardai protecting the bottom of Kildare Street utterly
powerless to intervene as the crowd smashed and burned
expensive cars and broke shop windows. Most of this
destruction appeared almost entirely aimless - there were
even people throwing bottles back into the crowd, although
there were some exceptions. A group set about thrashing the
headquarters of the Progressive Democrats, which was surely
the best choice of targets available and must have been
explicitly chosen since its location is not obvious or well

Eventually more and more Gardai arrived and drove the crowd
backwards towards College Green, prompting several panicked
stampedes as people sought to escape their batons. At this
stage I decided to call it a day. The rioters were breaking
up and headed into Temple Bar and elsewhere in smaller
groups. Small groups of riot police tried to contain them
here and there, but they had yet to establish any sort of
control over the city as groups of youths wandered around
casually looting and destroying property without much
distinction. This was over 3 hours after the riots had
started and I was tired, so I walked back along O'Connell
Street to view the destruction. One thing that struck me as
odd was that there were a huge numbers of council workers
deployed already to clean up the mess - almost as if the
state had been expecting it. Now, as I said above, I don't
think that this conspiratorial explanation is plausible,
but it did seem to be most unusual that the state could be
so ill prepared for policing this demonstration and so well
prepared to tidy up after a riot.

Summary / Appraisal

Virtually all of the analysis that I have read about the
Dublin riots in the short time since they happened has
completely missed the point. Most commentators have focused
on the apparent own-goal that the riots represent to
Republicanism and the way that they have played into the
hands of unionists. I don't think this is accurate at all.
Anybody who thinks that a happy reception for a loyalist
march in Dublin would bring unionist sentiment a centimetre
closer to accepting unification of the island is blind to
reality. The peace process has created an entrenched
sectarian division of power in the wee north. Unionist
parties compete with each other for protestant votes.
Nationalist politicians compete with each other for
catholic votes and there is no realistic prospect of this
changing without a complete overhaul of the political
system. Thus all the northern nationalists I have spoken
to, mostly SDLP supporters, declare themselves very happy
that the loyalists weren't allowed to get away with the
travesty of marching by the GPO and are uniformly happy
that the loyalists were sent back home on their buses
without marching. I am far less acquainted with unionist
opinion but I doubt that it makes much difference either
way. If they had succeeded in marching it would presumably
have bolstered the prestige of mr Frazer's paramilitary
Love Ulster organisation and the fact that this didn't
happen probably means little change to the balance of power
within unionism. I also wonder if Love Ulster will be able
to mobilise their supporters for a similar march in the
future. Although the people who came to march have
experienced far worse in terms of violence during the
troubles (both as victims and perpetrators) they did not
exude the normal triumphalism or defiance that one normally
associates with loyalism, instead I got a sense of fear
from them. It is one thing to be defiant in your own
community, it is another thing to be dumped in the middle
of a strange city where a large swathe of the population
hates you and where you have no support amongst the working
class and the experience of relying upon the security
forces of the hated Republic to protect you from a lynching
could not be a pleasant one.

In terms of the affects on southern politics, it is
important to realise that the riots had almost nothing to
do with republicanism. RSF are a fringe group with
virtually no support and if any of them took part in the
riots they were in an insignificant minority. The riots
were an expression of the anger of the most marginalised
sector of Dublin's urban poor, they had no real political
point other than an expression of that rage. While those
who are suspicious of Sinn Fein will use the riots as
another weapon against them, they had zero involvement
whatsoever. Their outright condemnation of the riots might
even alienate some of their more disenfranchised support
base and drive them towards the dissidents, but I doubt
that this is likely to happen on any great scale.

Much more significantly, the riots represent the first time
in living memory that the very poorest and most
marginalised elements in Irish society expressed themselves
politically, undirected as it may have been. The 'scumbags'
will have experienced this as a great victory - they
stopped the 'orange bastards' from marching, they took on
the guards en masse and won - they controlled the city
centre for several hours on a Saturday afternoon and many
of them will have experienced this as an intensely
empowering demonstration of their worth. In future the
government may have to reckon with this sector as a
political force - rioting is often empowering for the
marginalised and can easily spread and the government will
want to take great pains to discourage that. I think it is
highly unlikely that the government will be at all keen to
repeat the disaster of the loyalist march and risk
providing a chance for this anger to express itself again.
Unfortunately, however, it is very difficult to turn such
destructive expressions of anger into constructive
channels. While the most marginalised elements of the
working class woke up on Sunday morning with a new
appreciation of their collective power, they still lack any
constructive way of expressing this and until that avenue
presents itself, it is unlikely to lead to any political
force that can lead towards lasting change.

All of the political groupings in the south bar some of the
republican fringes and the anarchists will condemn these
riots in the harshest terms. Indeed within hours, the
state’s politicians were queuing up to express their
outrage and ‘anger’ at the events. But what is the point of
reacting to anger with anger? What use is anger against
people who don’t give a fuck and who don’t have anything to
lose? There is a French anarchist saying that goes “Qui
sème la misère récolte la colère“ – “he who sows misery,
harvests anger”. On Saturday February 25th 2006, we saw the
first harvest of our Celtic Tiger and chances are that it
won’t be the last.

Related Link:


Opin: An Opportunity Lost In Dublin

We are all diminished by what happened on Saturday. The
riots and the injuries suffered, and the damage to tourism
and property are just external manifestations of a more
serious assault on our basic civil liberties.

Republican sympathisers and local thugs were determined
that the victims of IRA violence in Northern Ireland would
not be commemorated on the streets of Dublin. In embarking
on that course of action, they rejected the freedoms of our
democracy and the terms of the Belfast Agreement that seek
to establish partnership, equality and mutual respect on
this island.

The Democratic Unionist Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson sounded
almost smug when he said the violence emphasised that some
people in the Republic "did not want a unionist about the
place" and had no intention of accommodating them in a
united Ireland. This is a view that must be confronted, for
there is no denying that Saturday's events have handed
loyalists a propaganda advantage that will feed into future
controversies over the right to march in disputed areas of
Northern Ireland. Some small comfort can, however, be taken
from the fact that the Northern group was transported to
its planned speaking point outside Dáil Éireann by the
authorities and was facilitated in making its views known

The right to free speech and to protest in a peaceful way
is fundamental to a democracy. There can be no doubt that
the street violence on Saturday involved an element of
careful planning and orchestration. Garda reports of the
use of petrol bombs, the stockpiling of missiles on Friday
night, the dousing and torching of cars in Nassau Street
and the use of mobile phones to direct and co-ordinate
attacks on police and property all suggest an organised
conspiracy. No matter that the greater number of those
eventually involved were young hooligans with no formal
links to republicans, the scene had been set and exploited
by experienced agitators.

Failure by the Garda authorities to anticipate and respond
quickly and effectively to the violence which flared at
various locations has become the subject of an internal
inquiry. That is right and proper. For while the anxiety of
the authorities to adopt a low-key approach to a
contentious parade was understandable, a lack of good
intelligence concerning plans by republicans to prevent the
march taking place left many citizens and an over-taxed
Garda force dangerously exposed. Individual gardaí
nonetheless showed exceptional bravery in the face of
sustained attacks.

There can be no excuses for what happened. Families who
lost loved ones to IRA violence were given official
permission to draw attention to their bereavement in a
peaceful march. Republicans and other anti-social elements
determined that their voices should not be heard. They
cannot be allowed to impose a dictatorial agenda. Street
cameras and video footage should now be used to identify
all those involved in the disturbances. And the law should
take its course.

© The Irish Times


Opin: McDowell And Control Of Media

John Waters

In a recent lecture on the role of the media, Minister for
Justice Michael McDowell seemed to move dramatically
outside his neo-liberal persona, arguing that the common
good is inadequately served by drifts within our current
media model. "Opinion, ideas and free speech," he declared,
"are not mere commodities."

Interestingly, in rejecting the idea that public debate
could be left to the free market, the Minister sought to
lean his argument on a rather flimsy legal/constitutional
structure. Media owners who enter the Irish media market
"from within or without", he said, must do so in a way that
accepts certain constitutional duties.

But in a detailed analysis in the current issue of Village
magazine, Vincent Browne points out that the
"constitutional duties" adumbrated by the Minister do not

There is no duty imposed on the media to educate public
opinion; no duty to uphold the constitutional rights of the
citizen to protection of privacy and reputation; no duty to
protect freedom of expression. These are duties not of the
media but of the State.

In advancing his developing view of the role of media in
society, then, McDowell was engaging in two rather telling
evasions. Firstly, he was avoiding the implications of his
analysis for himself and other legislators, or at least
suggesting that their role could be reduced to that of
enforcers of constitutional "duties".

Secondly, he seemed to duck responsibility for staking out
a convincing vision for the relationship that exists
between media and this society. To be fair, such a vision
was implicit in his remarks. He effectively despatched the
idea, long promulgated by assiduous vested interests -
sometimes with McDowell as backing vocalist - that a media
marketplace will willy nilly arrive at an approximation of
healthy democratic discourse. He described as "an effective
oligopoly" the media's function in providing an arena for
public debate.

"Whoever controls media content, in large measure controls
our democratic debate and, in effect, the workings of our

This has been axiomatic for two decades. Although creeping
closer to the conclusion that the State must intervene to
ensure that media tendencies do not result in an erosion of
democracy, the Minister backed away from intervention or
regulation in the area of private media ownership.

Instead, he engaged in a form of fudge, emphasising the
distinct role of public service broadcasting, which, he
stressed, "does not have to adopt a close, seamless
relationship with the journalism of the print media" but
"can and should be different and original". He stressed two
important points about the evolving culture of media: that
media are bad at holding other media accountable; and that
journalists and other media operatives increasingly see
their role as political players and agenda-setters.

This tendency, he argued, makes it all the more vital for
public service broadcasting to maintain a different model
of public discussion. But this too, he believes, is
starting to slip. "There are signs that a minority of
journalists and programme makers have decided they want to
be political players, that their legal obligations of
impartiality and objectivity are boring, outdated, style-
cramping counsels of perfection," he said. What the
Minister was saying, without saying it, is that in a
changing and largely uncontrollable media marketplace, RTÉ
must be subject to different standards, and possibly
different rules. He was also implicitly saying that the
more worrying the drifts in other media contexts, the
greater the imperative to ensure that the national
broadcaster provides an alternative model.

In short, he was rehashing the content of John Lloyd's 2004
book, What the Media Are Doing to Our Politics, written in
the wake of the Hutton inquiry into the suicide of the
scientist David Kelly after his exposure as the source of
an intelligence leak to a BBC journalist.

Lloyd's analysis pinned down a syndrome scratched at by
other commentators, his central thesis being that, in their
pursuit of sensation and intrigue, media are leading the
way in the debasement of democracy. "We should demand of
our media - and have a right to demand of the publicly-
funded media - that they seek to counteract the anomie and
indifference to politics which they proclaim by seeking to
tell the complex truth and by examining their role in
creating situations they affect to deplore," he wrote.
There is an obvious problem in transplanting Lloyd's
analysis over here.

The BBC - the starting and finishing point of his journey -
is solely funded by the licence fee, whereas RTÉ operates
by a twin-funding mechanism: licence fees and advertising
garnered from a marketplace in which the national
broadcaster competes with privately-owned media. Michael
McDowell has flown his kite, but now he needs to untangle
its string. Does he believe RTÉ should be subject to
particular controls in relation to its journalistic
functions and that these should be legally enforceable? And
does he now or soon intend to do anything about it?

© The Irish Times


Opin: Signs Of Planning For Trouble Amid Scenes Of Violent

Politicians see questioning Garda competence as less
important than exposing those behind Saturday's mayhem,
writes Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

For some time on Saturday, the Garda Síochána seemed
unprepared, with the uniformed officers on O'Connell Street
in danger of being outnumbered as the missiles began to
fly. Rioters were pushed down O'Connell Street and along
the south quays, only to cross bridges upriver back to the
north side again.

The target of their vicious, and in some cases alcohol-
fuelled, hatred, the "Love Ulster" marchers, were then
bussed across town to Leinster House, a decision which led
to a rampage of thugs across to Nassau Street, where they
burned cars, smashed shops and looted without impediment
before the Garda imposed control on this second front.

The presence of neatly piled ammunition in the form of
heavy building blocks along Dublin's main street also seems
extraordinary in circumstances where a march that could
attract hooligan opponents was to take place.

The Garda authorities will examine all of these questions
now, and a report will be provided to the Minister for
Justice. Questions will be asked, reviews will take place,
lessons will be learned.

But the key political question is, whodunit? The second one
is how to prevent them doing it again.

Opposition political response yesterday was restrained in
its questioning of the Garda and the Minister for Justice,
and concentrated heavily on denouncing those responsible
for the violence.

Although Labour's justice spokesman Joe Costello initially
suggested the Minister for Justice should resign, his party
leader Pat Rabbitte said yesterday he did not agree with
this, and concentrated on suggesting dissident republicans
were responsible for planning the riot. Fine Gael's Jim
O'Keeffe also urged that the Garda inquiry into what
happened should concentrate on finding out who was

On this question the evidence so far is not definitive. The
best assessment yesterday was that there was a core mob
that came prepared.

Many have asserted that these were dissident republicans,
and eyewitnesses report seeing some members of fringe
republican groups among the rioters. It is conceivable that
at least some were not particularly supportive of these
groups, but were the rioting enthusiasts who attach
themselves to other demonstrations such as anti-
globalisation protests.

Their number was swelled by young people who happened to be
on the scene and who joined in.

Eyewitnesses and gardaí dismiss reports that there was any
substantial element that had been "bussed in" from Northern

There was a Republican Sinn Féin counter-demonstration at
the Garden of Remembrance, and some of the people who went
to that were also seen later in the O'Connell Street mob.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party had a presence as the
rioting was taking place.

Some people wore Celtic or Shamrock Rovers shirts and at
one stage sang "olé, olé, olé", suggesting this element may
not have been entirely politically motivated.

Others had golf balls, snooker balls and other missiles to
throw.Whether these had been brought into town or simply
looted from shops is not known. Gardaí said that petrol
bombs were thrown, although this does not appear to have
happened on a large scale. Rioters had so many bottles to
fling, it was said widely yesterday that bins full of these
had been stored in side streets in advance. However eye-
witnesses report seeing rioters finding and using wheelie
bins full of bottles at the back of pubs and hotels after a
busy Friday night.

Some people wore hoods and scarves to conceal their faces
from the many CCTV cameras around the city streets. Some,
as the Taoiseach said, seemed to have experience of pulling
up paving stones and hurling them. Some of the hangers-on
who joined in were local inner-city youths. Others spilled
out of pubs.

In other words, there seems to have been some organisation
and planning. But there was also a straightforward hooligan
element that joined in the rioting. There was also an
opportunistic element that took advantage of the mayhem to
indulge in looting.

One expects gardaí to be alert to such events and to plan
to avert them. But it was not just the Garda Síochána that
was caught unawares. Media and politicians, while aware in
advance of the possibility of tension and confrontation,
failed to anticipate the scale of the violence.

The concern in Government circles is not only about the
physical damage done to the city centre, but the
international damage that may have been done to the
country's image. One of the positive effects of the peace
process has been the transformation of the image of Ireland
over the last decade. No longer does one meet many
foreigners abroad who primarily see Ireland as a violent
and dangerous place. It is seen as a safe place to live, to
work and to invest.

One senior Government figure noted on Saturday that images
of burning cars and thuggery in Dublin city centre were
prominent on every Sky and BBC World News bulletin. While
Dubliners may see those involved as an unrepresentative
group for whom the vast bulk of the population feels
nothing but disgust, the narrative as interpreted abroad is
that the age-old unionist/nationalist conflict lives on
through violence in the capital city.

Any repeat of Saturday's events will be seen as very bad
for business, and considerable political thought will go
into how to prevent this from happening again.

Government sources yesterday played down suggestions that
the events could have any effect on the currently stalled
talks designed to bring about the restoration of the
political institutions in Northern Ireland. References to
the violence will undoubtedly appear in some DUP rhetoric
from time to time.

However, the reaction of DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who
travelled to Dublin with the Love Ulster marchers, was
notable. While condemning the violence, he drew attention
both to the lengths to which gardaí went to keep the
visitors safe, and the spontaneous welcome and civility
shown by people on the streets before the violence erupted.

The Government insists that the military parade down
O'Connell Street this Easter to mark the 90th anniversary
of the 1916 Rising will go ahead as planned. The matter is
to be discussed at Cabinet soon, perhaps tomorrow.

Insisting the parade will go ahead, a Government
spokeswoman said yesterday: "We can't let these people
influence what we had planned to do."

© The Irish Times


Seeking Solace And Giving Something Back

By Pamela Duncan

JUMOKE Oyewo (Picture) comes from Nigeria. She has lived
in Ireland for the past four and a half years. Originally
a refugee herself, Jumoke worked as a volunteer for Doras,
the Limerick based organisation for asylum seekers and
refugees, for the past three years. But now that she has
received her residency she works for the organisation as
a regular employee.

Pamela Duncan talks to her about some of the problems that
she has faced in Ireland, why she took up voluntary work,
and the reason Jumoke wishes to give something back to her
adopted community.

Unlike many other refugees, Jumoke knew much about Ireland
before arriving in the country. "I chose to come to Ireland
because it’s safe to be here. My father used to have a
friend who is from Ireland and he has been telling us about
Ireland for a long time. When I was a teenager my father
used to go to England and this priest and my dad used to
discuss the Western world and the priest told us lots of
things about Ireland, like it is a God-fearing place and
there are many good people there.”

On reaching the country in 2001, Jumoke lived in Dublin for
four weeks before being moved to the Shannonside hostel in
Limerick. She found it difficult to adapt to life in the

"When I came in I came with my little son and he kept me
busy for some time because I’d have to drop him to school
and collect him in the afternoon and that was something I
could do every day, which lifted me a bit because I love to
work and do things for myself. I’m a very busy person so
life in the hostel was terrible for me. I came across Doras
through the hostel manager. I asked him if there was any
voluntary work I could do because I didn’t want to stay in
the place. The accommodation in the hostel will never be
good because it’s like being in a prison. You’re just in
the room waiting for the results from the Department of
Justice or whoever. There are lots of things you can’t do.
You can’t work; you can’t go to school; you get very little
money.” The only way out of this predicament was for Jumoke
to volunteer. Doras, a non-governmental organisation for
refugees and asylum seekers, visits the hostels
periodically to welcome refugees and to provide services
such as language courses and legal aid. It was during one
of these visits that Jumoke got the opportunity to ask
about voluntary work. "I met with the co-ordinator. I told
her that I was a teacher back home and she said that was
fine and she called me into the office and we started from

Jumoke used her new role in the community to help educate
others and visited schools taking part in workshops on the
differences between Ireland and Africa.

"The children asked many questions. They wanted to know
everything so I answered the ones I knew. They ask a lot of
questions about Africa. What does it look like? Where do
you live? Do you like sport in Africa? What kind of food do
you eat? I just told them about my own patch and what I eat
and I taught them about my language and how to say good
morning, hello and goodbye. I told them about how an
African child respects their teacher. An African child will
say good morning and will help the teacher. Some of the
students here won’t do that kind of thing.”

Jumoke now thoroughly enjoys her work, varied as it is.
"I’ve done so many things. When there is something to do in
the hostel I have to mobilise the women and there was a
time when we organised a singing group. We sang with the
Traveller women in Limerick with the asylum seekers and it
was great. It was a very big concert – it was wonderful.”

The main thrust of Jumoke’s voluntary work is as a
community mother, visiting hostels and giving support and
advice to first-time mothers who can find themselves
overwhelmed by their new responsibilities in a foreign

"I visit new mothers about a month after they have their
baby for the first time. It is a parent support programme
and we go visit new mothers and give them advice and ask
them about their needs. Our role is not the role of the
public nurse. We don’t prescribe anything to them we just
support them. We just ask them how they’re coping with the
baby and give them some advice. That is everyone’s first
experience. They don’t know how to wind the baby for
example. I was in one situation where the baby was crying
and the mother was crying as well and I walked in and she
was really stressed. She was tired and she didn’t know what
to do now so I give her a little advice. The baby was just
crying because of pains in his navel.”

Of course asylum seekers face a number of different
problems when they first enter the country. The most common
problem amongst asylum seekers and refugees according to
Jumoke is that of legal aid. Many refugees will need help
arranging interviews or seeking legal advice if they fail
in their appeal to remain in the country. The next issue
that they face is that of accommodation.

"Sometimes it is difficult for people to get out of the
hostels and into accommodation because some of the
landlords won’t take rent allowance. When they are moving
out of the hostel, they have not been working, so most of
them will be on rent allowance for some time before they
can stand on their own two feet. Some of the landlords will
say to you that they don’t take rent allowance but
sometimes when Doras rings for them the landlords take it.”

Jumoke remembers the difficulties she faced when she
herself moved out of the hostel.

"The first year I moved into the community I was frightened
to come out because I was the only coloured person in that
area. I was harassed sometimes and I’d just go back to the
house. But after a while things got better and eventually
they got used to me. Many of my neighbours have become good
friends now.

”However, she is reminded all too often of those initial
days. "Some of the Irish would look at you, like, who is
this? Where is she from? Sometimes they look at you like,
is she a human being? You can read from the body language.
You can read what they really mean when they look at you.
Some people look at you with a smile on their face and that
shows signs that you’re welcome. Some people look at you
differently. Some of them are open and some of them are
closed off. It varies depending on who and where. Sometimes
when you meet someone and they really want to know
something about you they will be open to you and some of
them will just say, "Why don’t you go back to your country?
Did you come to Ireland to eat our money?” I don’t care
because I know I worked before I came to Ireland. I’m
someone who loves to be independent. I was looking forward
to coming to Ireland, getting a good job for myself and
living a good life. So when they say these things I don’t
listen to them. If they are open with me I will tell them
my experience.”

Even when people are at their most abusive Jumoke retains a
philosophical air about the situation, "People call me
names but I don’t even wait to see or look who’s calling me
- I just walk on. I couldn’t even pick out a face of
someone who said something but sometimes at the bus stop
people say "f***ing black” or "f***ing monkey” but I don’t
care. I just keep going.

”Other aspects of Irish life have been much less difficult
to adapt to. "The food is fine because I eat potato back
home. In Nigeria now we get Irish potatoes but it’s just so
expensive. You get them in the market. We call them Irish
potatoes and they are the same potatoes you’d eat here. The
only thing that I missed was African food, but in late 2002
some African shops came to Limerick so that was a huge

In general Jumoke feels that she has adapted well to her
new home in Ireland. While her son experienced some
difficulty when he first started attending school, he too
has made friends and has settled in well now. Jumoke’s
second child was born in Ireland three years ago.

Soon afterwards it was discovered that this little girl is
a special needs child. She subsequently received help from
the Midwestern Health Board as well as a major operation,
which was successful. This has further strengthened
Jumoke’s ties with the community in which she lives. "That
really makes me want to contribute to the region. I try my
best to do good things. I’m very good now when it comes to
mobilising women and creating awareness for the new
refugees. You need to do something because when you have
the knowledge and you have the ability to do something you
shouldn’t sit there and waste it.”


The Pros Of Coming Off The Bottle

By Donal Hickey

WE’RE consuming more and more bottled water because we
think it’s better than what flows from our taps.

But some international experts say everyone on the planet
could have safe drinking water and proper sanitation at a
fraction of the cost of bottled water.

An obsession with health and obesity is driving people away
from soft drinks that are high in sugar. As a result, they
are looking for a healthy soft drink option.

Here in Ireland, there’s remarkable growth in the bottled
water market - something that could never have been
envisaged a generation ago. For water is something we’ve
traditionally had plenty of for free.

After all, why should people walk into a shop and buy a
bottle of Ballygowan, Kerry Spring or some foreign brand,
when we’re supposed to be drowned half the time? Bottled
water would have been regarded as a luxury, say, 20 years
ago, except when people went abroad on holidays and bought
it because they felt local tap water was dodgy. However,
bottled water is now purchased in Ireland just like a
carton of milk.

A survey has shown huge potential for the market as Irish
spending on bottled water is forecast to increase by €145
million between 2002 and 2007.

Irish people quaff around 85 million litres of bottled
water every year. But this is set to rise to 125 million by
2007, the biggest increase predicted for any of the soft
drinks category.

Still, our average consumption per person is low in
comparison with other EU countries and the EU recommends a
daily water intake of 1.5 litres.

The notion of selling water from Ireland in bottles started
with Ballygowan in the early 1980, which turned out to be a
remarkable success story only to be followed by other
brands since then, many of which also seem to be thriving.

But international experts now say bottled water is not the
solution to problems with water, especially in poorer

The Washington-based Earth Policy Institute (EPI) maintains
it’s possible for everyone in the world to have safe
drinking water that needed not come out of a bottle.

The United Nations has agreed to halve the proportion of
people who lack reliable and lasting access to safe
drinking water by the year 2015.

To meet this goal, they would have to double the $15
billion (€12.6bn) spent every year on water supply and

“While this amount may seem large, it pales in comparison
to the estimated $100bn spent each year on bottled water,”
says EPI researcher Emily Arnold.

“Bottled water is not the answer in the developed world,
nor does it solve problems for the 1.1 billion people who
lack a secure water supply,” she says.

“Improving and expanding existing water treatment and
sanitation systems is more likely to provide safe and
sustainable sources of water over the long term.”

Worldwide, bottled water consumption surged to 154 billion
litres in 2004, up 57% from 98 billion litres in 1999,
according to industry data.

“Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for
bottled water is increasing, producing unnecessary waste
and consuming vast quantities of energy,” Ms Arnold says.

“Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no
healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times

Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient
infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported
long distances - nearly a quarter of it across national
borders by boat, train, airplane, and truck.

“This involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels,”
Ms Arnold points out.

In 2004 alone, a Helsinki company shipped 1.4 million
bottles of Finnish tap water 4,300 kilometres to Saudi

And although 94% of the bottled water sold in the United
States is produced domestically, some Americans import
water shipped some 9,000km from Fiji and other faraway
places to satisfy demand for what Ms Arnold termed “chic
and exotic bottled water.”

She also claims bottled water is not guaranteed to be any
healthier than tap water, stating that roughly 40% of
bottled water begins as tap water.

“Often, the only difference is added minerals that have no
marked health benefit,” Ms Arnold says.

Many municipal water systems have run foul of government
water quality standards, driving up demand for bottled
water as a result. But according to the EPI study, there
are more regulations governing the quality of tap water
than bottled water in some European countries and American

The US Environmental Protection Agency sets more stringent
quality standards for tap water than does the Food and Drug
Administration for the bottled stuff, the study adds.


Commander John Wilson

(Filed: 27/02/2006)

Commander John Wilson, who has died aged 78, was head of
Metropolitan Police Special Branch operations at the height
of the battle with the IRA in the 1970s and 1980s, a period
seen in retrospect by many as the Branch's golden age.

He was partly responsible for developing the largely
moribund Branch's Irish "B" squad from its peacetime
complement of perhaps a dozen officers into one of the most
efficient intelligence operations in the world, numbering
more than 70 men and women.

He could also claim to have played a substantial role in
revising Anglo-Irish police relations from a position of
post-Independence mistrust and mutual suspicion at the
outset of the Troubles in 1969. Through his integrity and
energy, he was able to persuade many of his counterparts in
the Garda Siochana that terrorists of all hues constituted
a mutual enemy, and paved the way for effective
intelligence sharing between Britain and Ireland.

Later, he helped effect similar improvements in relations
with his West German and French counterparts.

John Wilson was born in Manchester on February 24 1927, the
son of Joe, a cotton worker who was decorated at Gallipoli
and Arras. At the age of 12 the family moved to
Lincolnshire and Wilson was entranced by the sight and
sound of heavy bombers taking off night after night to raid

Young John wanted to join the RAF, but his father and
headmaster at the City School, Lincoln, insisted that he
stay on to sit Highers. By the summer of 1945 there was no
room in the RAF for an aspiring pilot because of a glut of
aircrew and thus he was called up to the British Army.

He joined the Intelligence Corps, was sent to Palestine and
found himself facing the Israeli pre-independence freedom
fighters, the Irgun. The bombing of the King David Hotel
and the abduction and murder of British infantrymen came as
no preparation for an early brush with death.

"A group of Israeli terrorists dressed as British soldiers
drove on to our base in a stolen Jeep," Wilson recalled.
"They were kidnapping British officers. One lined me up
against a wall and poked a Sten gun in my back. I was 19 -
all I could think about was my mother."

After demobilisation in 1948 Wilson drifted through a
series of inconsequential jobs, such as selling advertising
space on the Lincolnshire Echo and dealing fruit and
vegetables at the London Docks, before taking an Economics
degree at Manchester University.

His choice of economics was not a success, and Wilson
abandoned his degree course in favour of squash games by
day and bridge by night.

At the age of 27 he took his family to London, embarking on
an uncertain future as a constable in the Metropolitan
Police. After two years on the beat in south London he
wanted something more challenging and applied for the
Special Branch, but was initially turned down.

At that time the Branch enjoyed the reputation of an
intellectual elite in the Met, and for this reason was
sarcastically known by many uniformed officers as "The

Wilson ignored the derision of his colleagues, persisted,
and was finally accepted. Over the next 10 years he slogged
his way up to detective sergeant. At this time Wilson was
assigned to a section of SB responsible for domestic
threats to security. In practice this frequently meant
looking at the activities of extreme Left- and Right-
wingers, often at the behest of an increasingly paranoid
government under Harold Wilson.

Much of the day-to-day intelligence-gathering techniques
employed by SB have been chronicled by Le Carré and
Frederick Forsyth; Wilson became highly proficient in the
art of the inconspicuous interrogation, as well as the
drudgery of record-tracing at St Catherine's House, and
later recalled using the identity theft routine from
Forsyth's Day of the Jackal as an instruction text for
inexperienced officers.

For several years he was assigned as personal protection
officer to the Burmese leader, General Ne Win, who kept a
house at Wimbledon. On one hot summer's day the General
held a lunch in the garden and the guests included the
political journalist Susan Crosland. A Burmese guest
demanded to know if Wilson was armed beneath his jacket and
attempted to frisk him for his pistol. Wilson became
increasingly alarmed as she pursued him, first around the
table, then around the garden. He loathed firearms and had
secretly left his Walther PPK at home.

But by 1969 he was aged 42 and still only a detective
sergeant. Civil unrest in Ulster was to change all that. He
was drafted to the Branch's "B Squad", specialising in
Irish terrorism with the onset of the Troubles and he began
rapidly climbing through the ranks.

At 6ft 3ins and with piercing looks, he was a commanding
presence in Irish-related police operations for the next 14
years. His reputation was built upon bluntness and loyalty
to his staff. One colleague recalled: "If you went to him
and said you had a problem, he'd ask, 'Will it kill you?
Can you go to jail for it?' If the answer was no on both
counts, you didn't have a problem."

After winning Commissioner's Commendations in 1971 and
1974, in 1976 he became head of this section with the rank
of chief superintendent, a job which involved close liaison
with other departments of the Met, as well as with every
other police force in the country, the Royal Ulster
Constabulary, Garda Siochana, the Cabinet Office and many
other official bodies. The excellent relations that Special
Branch enjoyed with these organisations were a tribute to
his professional ability and communication skills.

In his final five years as a commander he was responsible
for all Metropolitan Police Special Branch operations. He
played a major role in successful operations against the
IRA through the 1970s until his retirement in 1983.

In 1974 he received a Commissioner's Commendation for his
"ability and devotion to duty" leading to the conviction of
10 terrorists (the Belfast 10) who had been responsible for
a bombing campaign in London. He was also commended by the
judge at their trial. He was appointed MBE in 1977 and
awarded the Queen's Police Medal shortly before his

Wilson never shirked responsibility, was not afraid to make
decisions and stand by them, was loyal to his men and
intensely so to his profession. Away from work he was a
keen chess and bridge player and a very good squash player,
who frequently turned out for Dulwich and the Metropolitan
Police. He was at one time the British police veterans'
squash champion.

In retirement in Norfolk, he looked on uncomfortably as
many of the Branch's responsibilities were handed over to
MI5 and MI6 at the end of the Cold War.

John Wilson, who died on February 5, married Joan Suthrell
in 1950; she predeceased him in 2003, and he is survived by
two daughters and a son.


Dublin Boy (11) Wins Top BBC Quiz Title

Marie O'Halloran

Domhnall Ryan (Picture Photograph: Moya Nolan), from Knocklyon, Co
Dublin, who won the BBC's Junior Mastermind quiz, which was broadcast
Last night. He is a fifth-year pupil at St Colmcille's senior
national school in Knocklyon.

An 11-year-old boy from Knocklyon, Co Dublin, has won the
prestigious "BBC Junior Mastermind 2006" title.

Thousands entered the quiz but only 20 made it to the
televised heats of the programme which is based on the
adult version and hosted by regular presenter John

Contestants face a two-minute quick-fire round on general
knowledge and two minutes on a chosen subject.

Dómhnall's specialist subject in the final was "mammals of
the African plains" on which he scored 17 points. At the
half way stage he was in joint second place. He then scored
14 points on the general knowledge round after which he was
tied with another contestant resulting in a play-off which
he won.

Speaking after the programme last night, Dómhnall said:
"Meeting the other contestants and seeing how the programme
was made was really enjoyable. I was very surprised to have

The principal of St Colmcille's, Pádraig O'Neill, said that
the whole school was proud of Dómhnall who showed that he
is remarkably cool under pressure.

"I wouldn't sit in that chair for any money but it didn't
seem to worry Dómhnall at all," he said.

Jimmy O'Neill, a teacher in the school who helped Dómhnall
to enter for the competition, said the questions were
really tough.

"The show didn't patronise the children by trying to dumb
down the questions."

Mr O'Neill added: "Dómhnall is a real champion."

Asked about his ambitions, Dómhnall said that he wants to
study aeronautical engineering and become a pilot.

© The Irish Times

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